Ducks goalie John Gibson returns to practice

The Ducks were greeted by a familiar sight at practice Wednesday: No. 36 in net.

John Gibson, who missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, is on track to return Friday. That's been the plan since the weekend, and after Reto Berra was assigned to San Diego on Tuesday, Gibson should be the starter against the Columbus Blue Jackets barring a change.


The 24-year-old has avoided long-term injury this season, but a slew of nagging ailments have combined to eliminate from games mid-session and place him on injured reserve two times this calendar year.

Ryan Miller filled in capably in Gibson's absence, but the Ducks will need both goaltenders in the home stretch as they fight for the playoffs.

Gibson (2.51 goals-against average, .925 save percentage) has been stellar at times this season while leading a Ducks squad that was ravaged by injury for much of the first half.

Now, he's the one that's been saddled by an aching body, with seven missed games in 2018.

Gibson had two extra days to rest, with the Ducks off Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday, they held their "First Flight Field Trip," an educational program in which over 16,000 elementary school students from over 170 schools learned about the science of hockey at Honda Center.

The Ducks' game Friday will be their first following the trade deadline.